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Desiree Rogers STEPPING DOWN Next Month

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*Story being updated. Keep checking back*

White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is stepping down next month.

4:00PM:

"It's been a tremendous experience and honor to serve this president and first lady in what is really a historic presidency for all Americans but particularly for African-Americans," Rogers tells NYT's The Caucus. "That is part of the reason I came out to do the job."

Rogers is the first African-American to hold the position of White House Social Secretary.

She also told The Caucus that she had made the decision to resign in January after asking herself "What is going to make me the happiest?", and had not intended to make the announcement for some time. The news, however, leaked on Friday.

3:20PM:

The White House has released the following statement:

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

_______________________________________________________________________________________

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26, 2010

Statement from the President and the First Lady on Desiree Rogers

"We are enormously grateful to Desiree Rogers for the terrific job she's done as the White House Social Secretary. When she took this position, we asked Desiree to help make sure that the White House truly is the People's House, and she did that by welcoming scores of everyday Americans through its doors, from wounded warriors to local schoolchildren to NASCAR drivers. She organized hundreds of fun and creative events during her time here, and we will miss her. We thank her again for her service and wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

3:00PM: ABC News is reporting that Democratic fundraiser Julianna Smoot is in the lead to take Rogers' place.

Smoot worked as national finance director for Obama's presidential campaign, and is currently U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk's chief of staff. Read more about Smoot here.

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1:00PM
White House Social Secretary Desiree Rogers is stepping down next month.

"As we turn the corner on the first year," Rogers told Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times, "this is a good time for me to explore opportunities in the corporate world."

A source close to Rogers tells Huffington Post that another factor in her upcoming departure may be mounting tension with White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. "Desiree has had enough and will leave because she's butting heads with Valerie," says the source.

Rogers, who has an MBA from Harvard, worked at Allstate Financial before she was appointed to Social Secretary in December 2008. She is a good friend of the Obamas.

She also told Lynn Sweet "When I took on this assignment, we talked about the importance of creating the people's house....I think I completed that work."

Her public image suffered after the Salahi/state dinner debacle.

Rogers had also come under attack for attending New York Fashion Week with Anna Wintour and making other high profile appearances.

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